The first settlement within the limits now comprising the town of Bloom was made, in 1853, by Isaac McMahan, who, during that year, came and entered 120 acres of land on section 23. He was followed, the same year, by Daniel Householder, who entered 320 acres of land on section 35. He owned this land until the time of his death in 1879. He was ninety-nine years of age.
Edward Morris came during the same year and entered eighty acres on section 26.
John Rogers came in the spring of 1853 and entered land on section 18. He improved the land during the following summer, and then returned to Indiana, where he died shortly afterward.
Israel Cooper came at about the same time and entered 240 acres, a part of which was on section 26. He erected his house on that section.
In 1854 Reuben Selby came and entered 160 acres on section 36. He now lives in Kansas.
Thomas Siers came at about the same time and entered 160 acres on section 25.
Isaac Pizer came in 1854 and bought land on section 26. He laid out the village of Spring Valley and remained a few years when he removed to Cerro Gordo Co., Iowa. In 1872 he sold out and started for Oregon; but when three miles from Sacramento City, he fell from the cars and was instantly killed. His wife went on to Oregon, married two years later, and now lives in California.
Thomas Borland came in 1854 and settled on section 2, where he still lives.
John Jewell came during the same year and located on section 1, where he still resides.
Josephus Downs came in 1854 and entered land on the northwest quarter of section 22. He was a lawyer. He remained here for several years, then moved to Dane county; but a few years later returned and died on the old homestead.
James E Kidd, a son-in-law of Mr. Downs, came at the same time and entered the southeast quarter of section 15. He improved the farm and made this his home until the time of his death, which occurred in 1881.
James A Jones came in 1854 and settled on section 25. He now resides on section 35.
J M Hurless came at about the same time and entered 160 acres of land on section 5. He now resides on section 6. His brother, Henry, came the preceding spring and entered 160 acres on section 19.
Samuel Downs came in 1855 and bought land on the northwest quarter of section 14. He now lives in Kansas.
James A Sellers came in 1855 and located on section 26. He erected the first mill in the town of Bloom. It is located near Spring Valley and is still owned by him.
Jonathan Jewell came in 1855 and settled on the northwest quarter of section 15, where he still lives.
David Griffin came from Indiana in 1855 and entered 182 acres of land on section 18. He still lives on the same section. His father, Ralph Griffin, came in 1856 and settled on section 18.
Friend Morrison came in 1855 and bought land on section 6. He now lives at Woodstock.
Nathan Ford, a native of New Jersey, came in 1855 and settled on the southeast quarter of section 10. He died Jan. 15, 1884.
Joseph Pippen came at an early day and settled on section 30, where he lived for a number of years. He is now a resident of the town of Forest.
M R Griffin came in 1855 and entered 120 acres of land on section 7. He has never been out of the county since.
N M Trubaugh came during the same year and entered 160 acres on section 21.
Jesse Harness at about the same time entered eighty acres on section 17.
John E Snyder came in 1855 and located on section 27, where he bought 120 acres of land, which he still occupies.
In the fall of the same year Charles Peckham and his sons, Charles and Alexander, came and settled on section 26. William Peckham came at the same time and located on section 34.
William Pizer came in the spring of 1855 and entered 160 acres of land on section 26.
Joseph Householder came in 1855 and entered 160 acres of land on section 33.
The same year Henry De Hart and his two sons, J L and Daniel V, came. The father purchased land where the sons now reside.
Philip Almon came in 1856 and settled on section 7. He is now dead.
David Todd came in 1856 and bought land on section 6. In 1879 he sold out and went to California.
During the year 1856, and from that time until the war broke out, the settlement of the town was quite rapid, a great many of the incomers being from Ohio and Indiana.
The first house within the present limits of the town of Bloom was erected in 1853, by Isaac McMahan, on section 23.
The first school in the town was taught at the dwelling house of Isaac Pizer, in 1855, by William Barrett. There were two schools taught in 1855, in Rev. Crandall's house, by Lucinda Rollins.
The first marriage in the town was that of John Miller to Anna Barts, in 1855. The ceremony was performed by Henry Hurless, justice of the peace.
The first birth in the town was that of James, a son of John and Rhoda Crandall, in February, 1854.
The first sermon in the town was preached by John Crandall, in 1854, at his residence.
The first town meeting was held at the residence of Isaac Pizer, in April, 1856. The following were the first officers elected: Josephus Downs, chairman, Isaac Pizer and James E Kidd, board of supervisors; William Pizer, clerk; John H Crandall, assessor; Aaron Sutton, treasurer; Josephus Downs and L M Stewart, justices of the peace.
The following is a list of the officers chosen in April, 1883: Elijah Allbaugh, chairman, W Dowell, Thomas Burt, supervisors; J W Renick, clerk; Henry Hurless, treasurer; Timothy Spry, assessor; William Dowell, J T Cook and Jeff M Hankins, justices; J W Allbaugh, A T Carter and William Jewell, constables.
The first schools taught in the town of Bloom have already been mentioned. In 1883 there were ten school districts in the town, all in successful operation and supplied with neat and comfortable buildings.
In 1868 a union church was built on the present site of the village of West Lima. It is a very neat frame building, and cost $1450. There is now but one religious organization at West Lima --- the Disciples.
In 1877 a church edifice was erected, on section 18, by the Christian denomination. It is a log building, and has always been known as the Sugar Tree House. Rev. Jacob Mark is the present pastor of the Christian Church. Services are held once each month.
Neefe's mill was originally erected on section 36, in 1857, by James and Z Jones. Then, as now, it was located on the west branch of Pine river. In 1879 Charles A Neefe rebuilt the mill and still owns and operates it. It is equipped with an improved circular saw, planer, matcher, lath saw, ripper and cut-off saw. Its capacity is 7000 feet per day. The mill does excellent work and is having a good business.
In 1855 a postoffice was established under the name of West Branch, with William Barrett as postmaster, and the office at his house on section 26. Mail was received once a week. David Barrett succeeded William Barrett as postmaster, and in turn was succeeded by William Pizer. T K Gray is the present postmaster, and keeps the office at his store. In 1883 the name of the office was changed to Bon, which it still bears. The office is on the mail route from Richland Center to West Lima, mail being received tri-weekly.
The village of Spring Valley was laid out and platted in the spring of 1855 by Isaac Pizer. The name of the village was suggested by the numerous springs in the valley where the place is located. The village contained four blocks of lots on section 26. In 1856 an addition to the village of one block was made by William Pizer, and one of three blocks by Isaac Pizer. The first house and barn on the site were erected by William Pizer in 1856-7. The first store in the village was opened during the same year by William and David Barrett. They were succeeded by W H Downs.
The first wagon maker in the village was Reuben Selby.
The first blacksmith was William McMillan.
The first shoemaker was W H Rist.
The first mill at Spring Valley was erected in 1856 by James A Sellers --- a saw and grist mill, run by water power. Mr. Sellers still owns and operates the mill.
In 1883 the various lines of trade were represented in Spring Valley by the following:
Hardware and notions --- T K Gray.
General merchandise --- J W Bradshaw, J W Cass and Shambaugh & Householder.
Drugs --- Adam Shambaugh.
Blacksmith and wagon shops --- J Herbert & Co. and G T Hall.
The first school in the village was taught by David Barrett in the winter of 1857-8.
The first school house in this vicinity was erected on section 26, in 1857.
The first religious services in the village were held at the residence of C W Peckham, by a Presbyterian minister, in 1856. There are now two church organizations in the village --- the Methodists and Disciples.
The first physician to locate at this point was Dr. A. Shambaugh.
The first drug store was established by T K Gray.
This village was platted on sections 5 and 6, in 1875, by Joseph L and Daniel V De Hart and David H Todd. It lies just twenty miles from Richland Center and twenty miles from Union Center, the nearest railroad points. The village originally contained four blocks, or forty-eight lots. Three additions have been made to this one by J L and D V De Hart, in 1878, of two blocks; one by Job M Hurless, in 1878, of two blocks; and one by J L De Hart of two blocks.
The first building upon the site was erected in 1874 by John G Cook.
The first business building on the site was erected in 1874 by J L De Hart.
The first store upon the present site of the village was opened in 1874 by J L De Hart. Mr. De Hart, however, had kept a store in the vicinity of the village since 1855, and on the same site since 1859.
The first blacksmith in the village was H D Tillon.
The first shoemaker was A B Rundecker.
The first mill was one run by steam power, which was erected by J L De Hart & Co., in 1878.
The first hotel in the village was erected in 1874 by W S Bean.
The first physicians to locate in the village were Drs. J Smith and J H Helm.
The first school on the site of the village was taught in 1857. Daniel Grey and John Getty were early teachers.
The first sermon was preached by Rev. Isaac Lepley.
The following is a directory of the business of the village in 1883:
General merchandise --- J L De Hart & Co., T P Burt and Drake & Hankins.
Hardware --- A G Jordan & Sons.
Drugs --- H D Tillon. The first drug store was started in 1877 by R J Earley.
Millinery --- Mantie Marshall. The first milliner was Nancy J Early, who opened a ship here in 1878.
Butcher shop --- Sabin Brothers.
Harness shop --- James Stoops. The first harness shop was opened by A J Jacobs, in 1879.
Hotels --- E B Butterfield and Thomas Griffin.
Blacksmithing --- W S Bean.
Physicians --- Drs. J H Helm and H A Cole.
A furniture store was opened at West Lima, in 1876, by H B Chapman and J M Hankins. It was only continued for a short time.
D H Todd & Son were in trade when the village was platted, keeping a large stock of general merchandise.
In 1882 a new school house was erected in the village, at a cost of $1850. Frank Fowler taught the first school in this building.
The post of the Grand Army of the Republic was organized March 15, 1883, with the following as its charter members and officers: G W Shattuck, commander; Henry Todd, S V C; John Carter, J V C; John Griffin, chaplain; J H Helm, sergeant; D V De Hart, G; Frank Seeley, O D; Isaac Smith, O G; J M Hankins, O T; Lewis Long, S M; H D Tillon, Q M S; John Gomig, James Granger, Robert Drake, T W Payne, Jesse Beatty, C A Neefe, M R Griffin, Willet Lipley, C A Willey, T R Watts, August Zust and William Beatty.
The Independent Order of Odd Fellows at West Lima was organized on April 8, 1876, with the following charter officers and members: H S DeHart, N G; William Rodgers, J A Sandmire, V G; George W Drake, T; Alma Ford, R S; and Fred Cordes. The lodge now has a membership of fifty-two. The present officers are: J L DeHart, Jr., N G; Frank Poorman, V G; A M Deets, T; Watson Telfair, R S.
The Independent Order of Good Templars was organized June 5, 1883. The following is a list of the officers and charter members: J H Helm, W C T; Alice DeHart, W V T; John Morrison, chaplain; H P DeHart, secretary; Dora Todd, A S; Joseph Lipley, W T S; W Lipley, treasurer; B DeHart, M; Hattie Hurless, D M; Eliza Morrison, I G; W W Bean, O G; Mary Bean, R H S; Elizabeth Watts, L H S; B A Cole, P W C T; G W Ammerman, N W S; J Ammerman, Anna Bean, B B DeHart, Mrs. E E DeHart, Freeman Lipley, Mary A Lipley, Jane Lipley, J Morrison, Ellis Outland, Daniel Sabin, E D Sabin, Etta Seeley, Emma Todd, J F Watts and Serepta Todd.
The postoffice at West Lima was established in 1855, under the name of Hoosier. The first postmaster was Jesse Harness. In 1869 the name was changed to West Lima. Succeeding Mr. Harness as postmaster, came David H Todd, G D Hamilton and Miss Mantie Marshall. The latter is the present postmistress.
The early pioneers and prominent citizens of the town of Bloom, deserving of mention, are as follows:
Jobe M Hurless, one of the pioneers of Bloom, was born in Pendleton Co., Va., May 15, 1831. His mother died when he was but six months old. He remained in Virginia until 1833, in which year his father removed to Clinton Co., Ind., where he died in 1842. Our subject then went to Carroll county, and lived with Dr. Courier some years, and from thence to Howard county, same state, where he was married March 5, 1853, to Cyntha Trobough, a resident of Carroll county, but a native of Greene Co., Tenn., born June 20, 1836. Mr. Hurless then engaged in farming and on Sept. 17, 1854, departed for Wisconsin, and arrived in Richland county, town of Bloom, Oct. 5, 1854. He there entered 160 acres of land on section 5, and was forced to cut his road through the woods three miles to get in with a team, and had to haul his provisions from Orion, a distance of thirty miles. He has since increased his land to 620 acres, of which 200 acres are under cultivation. Mr. Hurless on his arrival in the town of Bloom possessed only $300, but by hard labor and successful speculations has acquired a competence. Mr. and Mrs. Hurless have seven children --- Martha M, John M, Henry M, Ivan M, Hattie A, Zettie and Orrin O. Martha was married in 1870 to T P Burt, and John M was married in 1880 to Emma Stumbaugh. Martha has five children --- Adie, Lulu, Etta, Elsie and Ivan M. John has three children --- Odas H and a pair of twins --- Allen C and Bessie M. Mr. Hurless has also an interest in a general merchandise store in West Lima, but devotes the greater portion of his attention to stock raising.
James A Sellers, one of the early settlers of Richland county, was born June 22, 1817, in Perry Co., Ohio, where his early life was spent, obtaining his education in the common schools. In 1844, he was married to Caroline Melick. They are the parents of nine children --- Jonas M, Mary I, John W, William A, Naomi A, Lucy E, Emma A and Bessie. Mrs. Sellars died April 7, 1882. Jonas is now married to Nora Downs; Mary is the wife of J D Allbaugh; J W is married to Mary J Cushman, and Lucy E to Marion Allbaugh. In 1855, Mr. Sellars moved from Knox Co., Ohio, to Green Co., Wis., wintering there in 1856 and 1857. In 1859, he came to Richland Center, and in August to the place where he now resides, town of Bloom, and entered 120 acres of land on sections 26 and 27, which he has reduced to ninety-two acres. He also owns a house, lot and grist mill in the village of Spring Valley. Mr. Sellars has been a deacon in the Methodist Episcopal Church since 1869.
W R Peckham, one of the leading farmers of Richland county, is a native of Jefferson Co., Ohio, where he was born in 1841, and there lived until 1855 when he moved to Richland Co., Wis., with his parents. They entered 160 acres of land on section 34, town of Bloom. Mr. Peckham now lives on section 23, where he owns 200 acres, is engaged in farming and buying stock for the market. He was married Oct. 26, 1865, to Catherine Allbaugh, who was born in Carroll Co., Ohio, April 20, 1847, where she resided until 1861, when she came to Richland county, town of Bloom, with her parents. They now have four children --- John A Logan, Milo E, Marian S and Bertha M. Mr. Peckham was a member of the 25th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, and was honorably discharged in June, 1865. He was assessor of the town one year. His father, William Peckham, was born in Jefferson Co., Ohio, in 1804, and died in the town of Bloom in 1881. His mother, Matilda, was born in 1809, also in Jefferson Co., Ohio, and died in the town of Bloom in 1883. Mr. Peckham has the respect and confidence of his fellow-men and may be classed among the best citizens of the county. He has always adhered to the principles of the republican party and is a pronounced member of that organization. Mr. and Mrs. Peckham are both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
Joseph Herbert was born in the town of Marshall, Richland Co., Wis., Dec. 25, 1855, and since his birth, has been a resident of the county, excepting three years spent in Vernon county. He is now engaged in general blacksmithing and the manufacture of wagons in the village of Spring Valley, and is the proprietor of the only hotel in that place. He was married in 1876 to Mary E Stewart, who was born in Black River Falls, Jackson Co., Wis., in 1857. They have three children --- Rena M, Mertie C and Milton M. His father, Peter, was born in 1801, in Canada; emigrated to the United States in 1845, settled at Fort Clinton, Ohio, and in 1854 came to Richland county and located in the town of Marshall, early in the settlement of that territory. His mother, Elista, was also a native of Canada, born in 1803, and died in Viola, Richland county, in 1881.
John J Jewell, one of the most prominent business men and farmers of the town of Bloom, was born in Carroll Co., Ohio, in 1828, where his youth was spent, and he received such education as he was able to obtain in the district schools of his native county. In 1855 he moved to Vernon Co., Wis., settled in the town of Union, remained six months, then moved to the town of Bloom, Richland county, where he purchased 800 acres of land, which he has since reduced to 500, located on section 1, where he now resides, and is engaged in farming, merchandising, loaning money and buying and selling stock to a large extent in Richland and Vernon counties. He was married in 1854 to Catharine Borland, who was born in the State of Pennsylvania, in 1830. They have seven children --- David W, R R, Enoch, William K, Ezra, John J and Mary E. William K is now married to Sarah E McBain and Mary E to Lemon T Smith. When Mr. Jewell came to this country, it was a wilderness; and pluck and energy were necessary elements for success. Remote from mill and market, without roads or easy methods of transportation, with little food and poor shelter, settlement in those days meant for a while almost hermitage, and all honor is due such men and women as Mr. and Mrs. Jewell, who by sacrifice and effort assisted in putting in motion a series of events, which have made possible the development of so goodly a land. Sometimes it would seem a place has thus been purchased at a cost beyond estimation, but they have lived to enjoy a home honestly gained, a competence fairly won, and are among the best class of Richland county citizens. Mr. Jewell has business qualifications beyond most men, which, combined with economy, energy and good judgment, have enabled him to outstrip others in the accumulation of wealth, until now he is in possession of a sufficiency for every enjoyment during his declining years.
Charles A Neefe, a native of Germany, was born Jan. 1, 1834, and emigrated to the United States with his parents at the age of two years. They first settled in St. Louis Co., Mo., where they remained eight or nine years, then removed to the lead mines of Grant Co., Wis., remaining until 1846, when he came to Richland county and settled in the town of Orion. Mr. Neefe has been a resident of the county ever since. He now owns 110 acres of land and a saw-mill, and is now doing a thriving business. He was married in 1857 to Nancy M See, who was born Jan. 7, 1836, in New York city, and came to Richland county in 1855. Mr. and Mrs. Neefe are the parents of five children --- Maria, Christina, Emma, Frank and Frederick. Maria is now the wife of Ellot Jones; and Christina, of Hughey Clark. Mr. Neefe enlisted in 1861 in the 6th Wisconsin Battery, and was discharged in 1864. While in the service he was injured by the premature discharge of a gun, of which he was first gunner. In 1859 he went on a gold hunting expedition to Pike's Peak, and was successful only in getting financially ruined. He, in company with three others, returned to Omaha, Neb., on foot. There, one of his comrades sold his gun for enough money to procure them passage to St. Joseph, Mo. At that point Mr. Neefe took a twenty-dollar piece, which he had saved, and paid their fare to Prairie du Chien, Wis., and having nothing to pay for food, he sawed wood for the cook of the boat, and so paid his own and his companions' board. On arriving at Prairie du Chien he tried to sell his gun to get his sick comrade home, but could get only $3 and a glass of beer for it. He accepted the offer, however, sent his comrade home and returned to his home himself, arriving in Richland county a poorer but wiser man. He has never left the county since without money enough to bring him home. Mr. Neefe was formerly a democrat; since the war, however, he has been a republican, but is not so bound to party but that he can and does vote for the best man.
Mahlon Stewart, one of the pioneer settlers of the town of Bloom, was born Oct. 16, 1827, in Pittsburg, Penn. In 1827 his parents moved to Galley Co., Ohio, where he resided until 1852, when he removed to Jackson Co., Wis., where he remained until 1857, and then removed to Richland county and settled on section 35, of the town of Bloom, where he entered forty acres of land and engaged in farming until 1863, when he removed to the State of Minnesota and remained until 1864, when he returned to the town of Bloom and purchased eighty acres of land on section 35, where he now lives. In August, 1852, Mr. Stewart was married to Ruth Clark, who was born Oct. 16, 1830, in Jefferson Co., Ohio. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have eight children --- Rachel J, William, Mary E, James, Edward, Martha, John and Emmett. Rachel is now married to James Zimberlee, William to Emma Davis, Mary E to Joseph Herbert, James to Ella Bailey, and Edward to Addie Barnhart. Mr. Stewart was a member of the 46th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, company H, having enlisted in 1864, and was discharged at the close of the war.
Thomas J Edwards is a native of the State of Missouri, born in Cooper county, Feb. 16, 1817. In 1825 he moved with his parents to Davis Co., Ind., where he grew to manhood and learned the tanner's trade. In 1839 he moved to Clinton Co., Ind., and remained until 1854, then went to Orion, Richland Co., Wis., and purchased 190 acres of land in Eagle town, and engaged in merchandising as clerk for Rodolph & Graham. In 1861 he enlisted in the 5th Wisconsin, and was discharged in 1863, having been promoted to the rank of second lieutenant, company H. He now owns 104 acres of land in the town of Bloom, on section 32. He was married in 1844 to Hannah Gray, who died the same year. He was again married Dec. 7, 1845, to Abigail Hayes. They have had eight children --- Hannah J, Asa J, Mary C, Joseph A, May, Ida S and Edwina E (twins), and Claribel. Hannah, Asa and Ida are now deceased. Mary C is the wife of Benjamin Black; May is the wife of James Seeley; Edwina E is the wife of Robert J Drake; and Joseph A is married to Jane L Guthrie. Mr. Edwards has held the office of town treasurer of Orion ten years.
F G Hills, a native of New York, was born in Lewis county, in 1827, where he spent his youth and learned the trade of a wheelwright. In 1855 he came to Richland county, and worked at his trade in Richland Center until 1875, when he moved to Nebraska, and there resided for six years. From thence he removed to the town of Bloom, and opened a blacksmith and wagon shop in Spring Valley, where he is doing a good business. He was married in 1852 to Miss C J Hubbard, born in Lewis Co., NY, in 1833. They have two children --- Herbert and Nellie. Herbert was married to Emeline Peckham, and Nellie is now the wife of John Miller. Herbert is the father of four children --- Charles, Delbert, Henry and Clara. Nellie is now the mother of three children --- Eugene, Frank and Nora.
James H Stewart was born in Richland Co., Wis., Feb. 15, 1859, and has lived in the town of Bloom ever since. Mr. Stewart is the son of Mahlon and Ruth Stewart, who came to Wisconsin in 1852, and now lives in Bloom on section 35. Mr. Stewart was married in the year 1880 to Ella Baily, who was born in 1861 in Williams Co., Ohio, and came to Richland county in 1874. Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have one child --- Evert A. Mr. Stewart now owns a house and two lots, and is engaged in the manufacture of wagons and general smithing, in the village of Spring Valley.
J W Bradshaw, one of the prominent business men of Spring Valley, was born in Wayne Co., Ill., in 1847, where he made his home until 1870, when he moved to Richland Co., Wis., locating in the village of Woodstock, engaging in the mercantile trade there, and continuing until 1876, when he sold his stock and purchased a farm, which he managed until 1883, when he again engaged in merchandising, locating in Spring Valley, town of Bloom, where he carries a fine stock and has a good trade. He was married in 1870 to Lora A Walser, a native of Edwards Co., Ill., born in 1854. They have four children --- James E, Ines, Una and Walser. Mr. Bradshaw was a soldier in the late war, having enlisted in 1863 in the 61st Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was honorably discharged in 1865. His father, James, was born in Kentucky in 1800; went to Wayne Co., Ill., in 1830, and entered a farm, upon which he lived fifty years, and left a Christian record excelled by none in his county. His mother, Matilda, was born in 1804, and died in Wayne Co., Ill., in 1853. In addition to the care of his own business, he always find time, and esteems it a great pleasure, to assist in bearing the burdens of building up Christian and benevolent causes of his place.
B F McCord was born in Mercer Co., Penn., in 1826, where he resided until 1842, when he moved to Grant Co., Wis., and engaged in general work until 1859, then moved to Lee Co., Iowa; remained one year, and returned to Grant Co., Wis. In 1866 he moved to Texas, remained two years, and returned to Grant county. In 1873 he moved to Des Moines Co., Iowa, remained two years, and came to Richland Co., Wis., and started a carding and spinning mill. In 1882 he moved to the town of Bloom, built a mill on section 4, where he had purchased forty acres of land and is doing a good business. He was married in 1859 to Lucinda Ayer, who was born in Rock Co., Wis., in 1842. They have seven children --- Blanche, G W, Jenette, Rebecca, Andrew, Mary and E D. Mrs. McCord died in the town of Bloom, in June, 1882. Blanche is now married to Charles Knightman.
There were 1867 visitors at our previous host from 11 Mar 2006 to 2 Aug 2011 and 2052 visitors to a previous site from 24 Aug 2000 to 11 Mar 2006.